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LOMZA (LOMZHA):

Capital of the government of Lomza, Russian Poland; situated on the left bank of the River Narev. In 1897 it had a total population of 26,075, including 9,822 Jews. The earliest known references to an organized Jewish community in Lomza date from the beginning of the nineteenth century. The first rabbi recorded is Solomon Zalman Ḥasid, a cabalist, who corresponded with Akiba Eger. He was rabbi of the Lomza community for thirty years, and died there about 1840. He was succeeded by R. Benjamin Diskin (who officiated until 1848) and the latter, by his son Joshua Löb Diskin (b. Grodno 1818; d. Jerusalem 1898). Abraham Samuel Diskin, another son of Benjamin Diskin, was born at Lomza in 1827, and became rabbi of Volkovisk (government of Grodno), where he died in 1887. He was the author of "Leb Binyamin." Joshua Löb Diskin was succeeded by R. Elijah Ḥayyim Meisels, now (1904) rabbi at Lodz. The fifth rabbi was Eliezer Simḥah Rabinowitz (1879), now at Kalvariya. The present rabbi is Malchiel Ẓebi Tennenbaum, author of "Dibre Malkiel."

In 1884 a destructive fire rendered eighty families homeless. In 1885 a yeshibah was established in Lomza by R. Eliezer Shulawitz, the pupil of R. Israel Salanter. The institution is attended by hundreds of boys, who are provided there with food and clothing. Among the prominent members of the Lomza community may be mentioned Dr. Ephraim Edelstein, son-in-law of Lazar Rosenthal of Yasenovka.

Besides the general schools, Lomza has special Jewish schools, including 20 ḥadarim (430 pupils), and 1 Talmud Torah (180 pupils). The yeshibah has about 250 students. The charitable institutions include a hospital, a poor-house, a free-loan association, and a society for aiding the poor. Manufacturing and trading have been but little developed in Lomza. In 1897 there were 1,327 Jewish artisans there.

Bibliography:
  • Ḥa-Asif, i., iv. 5;
  • Ha-Ẓefirah, 1877, No. 11; 1879, No. 26; 1883, No. 31; 1884, p. 266; 1887, p. 10; 1889, p. 1133.
H. R. J. G. L. S. J.
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